Blames sore-loser Hillary for fueling false rumors
Donald Trump has responded to Justice Department special counsel John Durham’s report on the origins of the FBI ‘s Trump-Russia probe, saying the findings vindicate his claims of baseless persecution.
‘It’s a great vindication and it feels good, and the report has been widely praised,’ Trump told Newsmax in a phone interview on Tuesday night, his first televised interview since Durham issued his report on Monday.
‘All of these people are — I guess you could call it treason. You could call it a lot of different things. But this should never be allowed to happen in our country again,’ added Trump.
The former president when on to heap blame on his 2016 election opponent, Hillary Clinton, for the controversial FBI probe into his own campaign.
‘This was really started by, when she lost the election,’ said Trump. ‘They called this a big, big surprise, and they didn’t know what to say. And they said, “Let’s blame it on Russia.” Somehow somebody came up with the idea, let’s blame her loss on Russia.’
‘This was really an excuse for why she lost the election. She blamed it on Russia. And it’s very sad, very very bad for our country,’ added Trump.
In his report, Durham noted that he interviewed Clinton as part of his probe into her campaign’s purported effort to tie Trump to Russian election interference, but found no ‘provable criminal offense’ on the part of the Democratic candidate.
Durham’s 306-page report is refocusing negative attention on one of the most politically significant investigations in FBI history: the probe into whether Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was conspiring with Russia to tip the outcome of the election.
The findings aren’t flattering for the FBI, with Durham asserting that the agency rushed into the investigation without an adequate basis and routinely ignored or rationalized evidence that undercut its premise.
The report catalogs a series of errors – though many had already been documented years ago by a separate Justice Department inspector general report. The FBI says it’s taken several dozen corrective steps on its own.
Trump has long branded the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe, which the bureau code-named Crossfire Hurricane, as a politically motivated ‘witch hunt’, a label he has also applied to a myriad of other criminal and civil investigations targeting himself and his business dealings.
Tom Fitton responds “Trump was a crime victim, let’s remember that”
‘Russia case’ against Trump was a shocking conspiracy that continues today
– Jonathan Turley
In Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” detective Hercule Poirot observes, “The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”
That may be the best summary of the findings of special prosecutor John Durham in his 305-page report issued yesterday.
Not only did the impossible happen, but they all did it: the Clinton campaign, the FBI, and the media.
In hindsight, it would appear impossible.
A political campaign hatches a plot to create a false claim of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Making this even more implausible is that the CIA and FBI know about the plot.
As detailed in the report, President Barack Obama and his national security team were briefed on how “a trusted foreign source” revealed “a Clinton campaign plan to vilify Trump by tying him to Vladimir Putin so as to divert attention from her own concerns relating to her use of a private email server.”
It then happened a few days later.
It was a plot that required everyone to take a hand in derailing a duly elected president and effectively shutting down his administration for three years of investigation and prosecutions.
In this conspiracy, there were dozens of key participants in the campaign, the government, and the media. Here are a few of the characters implicated in this report.
The report details how the Russian collusion conspiracy was invented by Clinton operatives and put into the now-infamous Steele dossier, funded by the Clinton campaign.
The funding was hidden as legal expenses by then-Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias. (The Clinton campaign was later sanctioned by the FEC over its hiding of the funding.)
New York Times reporter Ken Vogel said at the time that Elias denied involvement in the anti-Trump dossier.
When Vogel tried to report the story, he said, Elias “pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’” Times reporter Maggie Haberman declared, “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.”
“It was not just reporters who asked the Clinton campaign about its role in the Steele dossier. John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, was questioned by Congress and denied categorically any contractual agreement with Fusion GPS. Sitting beside him was Elias, who reportedly said nothing to correct the misleading information given to Congress.”
Durham details how Elias played an active role in tracking the media campaign to push the false allegations. (Elias was recently severed by the Democratic National Committee from further representation and has been previously sanctioned in the federal courts in other litigation.)
The report details how false claims like the existence of a “pee tape” showing Trump engaging in disgusting acts with prostitutes in Moscow came from a Clinton operative, Chuck Dolan, with no known basis in fact.
Likewise, now-national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Clinton personally pushed an absurd campaign-created conspiracy theory about a secret communication line between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin through a Russian bank.
The Clinton campaign later admitted that it had indeed funded the dossier, but Clinton continued to claim that the election was stolen from her by the Russians.
Of course, this conspiracy could not occur without the assistance of the FBI, which Durham found played an eager role due to a “predisposition” of key players against Trump.
The dossier was discredited early by American intelligence, which learned that it might itself be Russian disinformation.
There never was support for the allegations, but the FBI launched and maintained a massive investigation anyway.
Durham noted that the FBI showed a completely different approach to allegations involving the Clinton campaign.
The Trump investigation was a “noticeable departure from how it approached prior matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign.”
Nevertheless, former FBI Director James Comey would continue to reference the entirely unsupported “pee tape” in interviews.
Even though investigators found no support for the campaign-created story, in a 2018 interview, Comey delighted viewers by saying: “Honestly, I never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013.”
The FBI was assisted in this effort by members of Congress on the House Intelligence Committee.
Even when the false narrative was played out and the lack of support was becoming obvious, former House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) assured the public, on March 13, 2018, that “I can certainly say with confidence that there is significant evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia.”
He never produced the promised evidence.
The most essential player in this conspiracy was the media, which pumped up the dossier as gospel. On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow assured her viewers that “no major thing from the dossier has been conclusively disproven.”
On CNN, one of the guests insisted, “I think we are actually have to stop calling it the ‘infamous dossier’ and increasingly calling it ‘accurate dossier,’ the ‘damning dossier.’”
CNN host Alisyn Camerota attacked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and said the dossier “hasn’t been discredited, in fact, it has been opposite, it has been corroborated.”
Durham has laid out how the most cited claims were not supported, let alone corroborated. Indeed, he found there was no basis for this investigation to have been launched in the first place.
Yet, like in “Murder on the Orient Express,” all of the culprits were then let go.
Comey went on to make millions selling books and giving speeches on “ethical leadership.” Former FBI special agent Peter Strzok was given a job by CNN. Clinton general counsel Marc Elias is advising people on election ethics and running a group to “defend democracy.”
After all, this was a collective effort. In Washington, the more people involved in a conspiracy, the less culpable it becomes.
They all did it, so no one did.
Jonathan Turley is an attorney and a professor at George Washington University Law School.
DOJ charges former Apple engineer with alleged theft of autonomous car tech for China
Wang fled the U.S. the same day his home was searched by law enforcement
A former Apple software engineer was charged with allegedly stealing Apple’s autonomous technology for a Chinese self-driving car company, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
Weibao Wang worked as a software engineer at Apple from 2016 to 2018, a DOJ indictment said. Wang worked on Apple’s Annotation Team, and was granted “broad access” to databases which the Justice Department said could only be accessed by 2,700 of Apple’s 135,000 employees.
Wang is the third former Apple employee to be accused of stealing autonomous trade secrets for China.
Wang has been charged with six separate counts involving the theft or attempted theft of Apple’s “entire autonomy source code,” tracking systems, behavior planning for autonomous systems, and descriptions of the hardware that was behind the systems.
- Weibao Wang was charged with six counts of theft or attempted theft by prosecutors, who allege he stole troves of source code on Apple’s autonomous technology for an unnamed Chinese company.
- Autonomous technology can be used to develop and build self-driving cars.
- Wang fled the U.S. the same day his home was searched by law enforcement.
A year into his employment, four months before he quit his job at Apple, Wang accepted a job at the U.S.-based subsidiary of an unnamed Chinese company which was developing autonomous driving technology and began to siphon “large amounts” of sensitive commercial technology and source code, the indictment alleged.
In April 2017, only 5,000 of Apple’s 135,000 full-time employees had been informed about the project, the DOJ indictment alleges, or around 4% of the company. An even smaller segment, around 2%, had access to “one or more” of the databases Wang accessed, the indictment continues.
Law enforcement executed a search of Wang’s home in California on Jun. 27, 2018, where they found large quantities of stolen, confidential, and proprietary data, the indictment alleges. Wang was able to flee the country even after law enforcement executed the search, despite promising that he wouldn’t.
Wang boarded a flight to Guangzhou, China from San Francisco International Airport. In a press conference, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Ismail Ramsey said Wang was in China and would face ten years in prison for each count if extradited and convicted.
The charges were announced as part of a sweeping enforcement action led by the Disruptive Technology Strike Force. Four other cases were unveiled across the United States, involving criminal behavior to supply Iranian forces with sensitive ballistic technology, Russian intelligence and research units with quantum technology, and sanctions-violating exports.
The allegations against Wang come after another Apple employee, Xiaolang Zhang, pleaded guilty in San Jose federal court to a similar theft involving trade secrets in Apple’s car division.
Like Wang, Zhang had planned to flee to China. Both Zhang and Wang were working at Apple’s autonomous division at the same time, and both left their employment at Apple in 2018.
Another employee, Jizhong Chen, was also facing federal charges over his alleged 2019 theft of sensitive information. Chen also attempted to flee to China, according to court documents. Chen’s case is proceeding in California federal court.
Apple declined to comment on the case.